About donating blood

Today I donated blood for the first time. I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time, but following the normal course of yak-shaving/bikeshedding etc, there was always some excuse for not doing it "now"—needing more info, not wanting to be tired ahead of some important activity, not knowing when the donation bus was going to be around etc etc. For some people, the idea of getting stung by a rather large needle might also be an issue.

I have a very rare bloodtype, where the plasma in my blood can be used for receivers with any blood type, so I’ve understood that my blood is really, really valuable for the people working every day to save lives. And from what I gather, they normally don’t have enough of any blood type. So the stuff spinning around in your head before making a decision to donate blood is keeping you from doing a very simple thing that is hugely important and helpful.

Here’s a list of stuff you should check right now, to go from maybe thinking about it but not doing it:

  • There’s probably a site with most of the info you need about how it works in your country and/or city. Here in Sweden it’s geblod.nu. Go there, read up.
  • There are very strict regulations about who can give blood: diseases, medication, medical history, travel habits, tattoos etc—all these things can be possible reasons why you cant give blood. Read up on them now: maybe you’re not even eligible to donate, and you can put this out of your mind for a while.
  • Here, there are blood buses that go around various parts of town, and you can sign up for notifications when they’re in your area. If you think you are eligible to donate, do that, and at the nearest possible occasion, go and do the initial testing, it takes half an hour or so.
  • It doesn’t hurt. Seriously, it’s a tiny needle sting. It’s not even close to like stepping on a lego piece. It’s a pretty big needle, but if that bums you out, just don’t look at it.
  • You’ll be fine after donating, just maybe a little bit tired for a while. I can’t really tell the difference. I expected to be really tired and weak—not so. The advice is to not do physical excercise the same day, but you will not be completely out for the day, far from it. Of course, I’m not a doctor and your mileage may vary, etc.

So there. It’s not a big thing, it’s simple. Read up on if you can donate, get yourself tested, donate.